Tourists in fake-artworks scam

22:57, Jan 15 2013

Scammers trying to sell cheap artworks for inflated prices are targeting Christchurch residents.

Police are warning householders to be wary of the scam, which usually involves young foreign backpackers going door to door representing themselves as art students.

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Acting Inspector Glenn Nalder said the "students", from a variety of countries, try to pass the paintings off as their own work, selling them for several hundred dollars each.

"The paintings are actually mass-produced and can be purchased online for a few dollars each," he said.

"These groups have been active in Christchurch recently. Police received a report earlier this week of people going door to door trying to sell the paintings. 


"Last night, police caught up with a pair in the Cashmere area. Inquiries are continuing in relation to the man and woman spoken to, and we have not ruled out charging the pair.

"Falsely representing the paintings is an offence and may result in arrest. Obtaining by deception is punishable by up to seven years' imprisonment."

Police are passing on information about the offenders to Immigration New Zealand.

"Often the scammers are in breach of immigration regulations. Police will liaise with the Immigration Service, who may also take action," Nalder said.

Police urge residents to turn away people selling art door to door.

The Press